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Theological school plans to build senior center on campus


Written by Stephen Butler Murray

Our friends at Pacific School of Religion (PSR) have announced plans to build 265 apartments for seniors on their campus in Berkeley, California. Here are my thoughts.

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Dallas seminary to require sexual abuse prevention class



As of this fall, Dallas Theological Seminary is requiring ministry students to take an entry-level certification course on preventing and addressing child sexual abuse.

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"Farminary" provides agricultural context to ministerial formation




Princeton Theological Seminary is offering a unique take on the recent interest in sustainable farming. Their agricultural project, known as the Farminary, is offering students a chance to learn theological concepts and to develop their ministry in the context of farming. 

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Pokemon GO and the theological library



Cross-posted from the ATLA Newsletter, the blog of the American Theological Library Association. Article submitted to the ATLA by Keegan Osinski, public services assistant, Vanderbilt University Divinity Library.

Much of theological librarianship lies at the intersection of church and library. And as of July 8, 2016, something else has popped up at that intersection: the mobile gaming app Pokémon GO. Based on the popular video game and anime from the late ’90s and early ’00s, Pokémon GO is a location-based game that uses Google maps to bring Pokémon into the real world. Players explore their neighborhoods and cities looking for monsters to catch and battles to fight. The important landmarks in the game — PokéStops and Gyms — are often located at public art, historical markers, and churches and libraries. Both libraries and houses of worship are finding that Pokémon GO can be a fun way to interact with their communities.

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Influence of presidents rises



The influence of seminary presidents in decision making has substantially increased over the last decade, while that of faculties and denominations has decreased. At the same time, board influence remains unchanged. 

These findings were discussed in “Who’s in Charge? Effective Decision Making in a Time of Crisis and Fundamental Change,” a January 21 webinar jointly sponsored by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the In Trust Center.

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In Trust magazine - Summer 2016 issue

The Summer 2016 issue of In Trust was recently sent out to subscribers. Click "Read the Rest of Entry" for highlights!

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Chronicle highlights challenges of rural colleges



The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published an article that addresses the challenges of rural colleges and the efforts of some schools to attract more students and faculty. Written by Lawrence Biemiller, the article highlights colleges facing difficulties because of their remote locations.


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Colgate Rochester Crozer is moving



Things are looking beautiful at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (CRCDS), the oldest Baptist seminary in the United States, which occupies a tree-filled campus on a hill overlooking Rochester, New York. The school is the product of a merger of Colgate (founded 1817) and Rochester (founded 1850) seminaries, which came together in 1928. A theological institute for women, the Baptist Missionary Training School, joined the institution in 1961, and a fourth school, Crozer Theological Seminary (the alma mater of Martin Luther King Jr.), joined in 1970.

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The value of classroom tech: A professor chimes in

 

Technology has made every area of human endeavor better, or at least more productive, and it seems downright curmudgeonly these days to say otherwise. We all agree with that. . . right?


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In Trust wins awards at Associated Church Press meeting



In Trust won three awards at the annual meeting of the Associated Church Press, held April 22, 2016, in St. Louis, Missouri. 

The association, which is made up of church-related and independent religious periodicals, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and has held an annual meeting since 1920. In Trust publisher Jay Blossom serves on the board of directors.

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In Trust magazine – Spring 2016 issue

The Spring 2016 issue of In Trust was recently mailed to subscribers. Here are some of the highlights.


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    Graduation gap remains between black and white students


    New research about the graduation rate disparity between black and white students is highlighted in a March 2016 article in Inside Higher Ed.


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    Seminary president featured in Christian Century cover story


     

    Central Baptist Theological Seminary president Molly T. Marshall was interviewed for the cover story of a recent issue of The Christian Century. The interview, by David Heim, addresses Marshall’s opinions and experiences as president.  


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    Already in debt, incoming seminarians plan to work part time


    In a January 20 webinar for seminary leaders, a researcher for the Association of Theological Schools highlighted sobering data gleaned from surveys of new students at the association's member institutions.


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    One perspective on tenure

     

    In a recent Christian Century blog post, Greg Carey provides a defense of tenure at theological institutions. He begins his post by acknowledging that in times of change and financial unrest, theological schools may be tempted to rely principally on adjunct faculty. After all, tenured faculty cost more --and some may be resistant to institutional changes. But Carey argues against the move toward adjunct faculty.

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    Calvin College offers inmates a second chance

     

    “To have this opportunity is an answer to prayer and an opportunity to fulfill my calling,” says David. He's pursuing a bachelor of arts in ministry leadership degree offered by Calvin College. He's also an inmate at Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan. 

    The Calvin Prison Initiative offers 20 inmates in the Michigan correctional system the chance to pursue a B.A. while incarcerated. The initiative, which accepted its first class in August, has been positively received by inmates, prison staff, and Calvin faculty alike.


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    Do bequests make a difference?



    Donors make bequests to make a difference after they're gone. Mary Goodman, a New Haven laundress who bequeathed her life savings (nearly $5,000) to Yale Divinity School to provide scholarships for African Americans, was especially successful in this regard: her bequest supported the school’s first black students, and continues to support students today, nearly 144 years later.

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    Gettysburg and Philadelphia seminaries announce ‘new school of theology’




    The Lutheran seminaries in Gettysburg and Philadelphia have announced that their boards have adopted resolutions calling for “the creation of a new school of theology and leadership formation.”


     

    Last week, Gettysburg Seminary and the Lutheran Philadelphia Seminary jointly announced that their boards had adopted resolutions calling for “the creation of a new school of theology and leadership formation.”

    The two schools, both located in Pennsylvania and both seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), held simultaneous meetings of their boards to adopt the identical resolution. You can read more about the announcement here and here. We will keep you posted as the schools share more about this process. 


     


     

    Last week, Gettysburg Seminary and the Lutheran Philadelphia Seminary jointly announced that their boards had adopted resolutions calling for “the creation of a new school of theology and leadership formation.”

    The two schools, both located in Pennsylvania and both seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), held simultaneous meetings of their boards to adopt the identical resolution. You can read more about the announcement here and here. We will keep you posted as the schools share more about this process. 


     


     

    Last week, Gettysburg Seminary and the Lutheran Philadelphia Seminary jointly announced that their boards had adopted resolutions calling for “the creation of a new school of theology and leadership formation.”

    The two schools, both located in Pennsylvania and both seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), held simultaneous meetings of their boards to adopt the identical resolution. You can read more about the announcement here and here. We will keep you posted as the schools share more about this process. 


     

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    Student data, shared governance, and seminary finances: Upcoming webinars




    The Association of Theological Schools and the In Trust Center are presenting or co-presenting three webinars in upcoming months that will be of interest to leaders of theological schools. The webinars cover student data, shared governance, and seminary finances and are designed to educate members of the board, faculty, and administration of theological schools on these essential topics.

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    Financial troubles? How sharing resources could be a solution

     

     

     

    Ecumenical Theological Seminary (ETS) recently made an interesting choice regarding its seminary library. In order to deal with financial constraints, ETS negotiated with nearby Wayne State University to share their library. To explain this creative approach to addressing their financial issues, ETS president Stephen Murray said, “My mantra is, we don’t want to make cuts just to make cuts, we want to make cuts in such a way that we position the seminary to grow and to become strong.”


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    Connecting the dots between the board and the library



    At most institutions, the relationship between board members and the library is mediated through the administration. In an informal survey of 35 library directors, In Trust found that most have little direct contact with board members. Twenty-four library directors said that they never have contact with their school’s board members outside their board meetings. And 19 of the 35 said they have never submitted a formal report to their board.

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    Changing demographics at Catholic seminaries

     

    Since the '70s, the number of priests in the United States and Canada has dramatically decreased, while the number of Catholics has grown. The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate reports that in 1965, 549 U.S. parishes did not have a resident priest pastor. By 2010, that number had increased to 3,496. Nevertheless, a recent story from NPR highlights some good news for U.S. Catholics.

     

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    Selling the seminary -- statistics and all


    As seminary leaders engage with donors, many find a reluctance about investing in theological education. North America’s changing religious landscape means that there are fewer people in the pews, at least in many churches. A growing number of seminaries is recruiting potential students, but the absolute number of seminarians has remained essentially flat over the last 20 years. Furthermore, the prohibitive cost of the traditional master of divinity degree can all lead potential donors to question whether their gift might be better given elsewhere.

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    Is a seminary a school or a church?

     

     

    A seasoned faculty member once complained to me after completing a long counseling session with a student. He lamented about how he was spending more and more of his on-campus time: “Sometimes I feel like I’m spending more time counseling my students than teaching them. This was not the case 20 years ago when I began teaching. Something has changed.”

     

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    Our condition: Americans with Disabilities Act, 25 years later



    Twenty-five years ago,  when I was a college freshman, my university unveiled a program to address the needs of disabled students on campus. Since this was the same year that Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), I can only assume that the new law was the impetus behind the effort. 

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